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Maharashtra floor test plea and Supreme Court’s demands

Topics Covered:

Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Maharashtra floor test plea and Supreme Court’s demands

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Meaning and implications of Rule 12.

For Mains: Significance and concerns associated.

 

Context: The Supreme Court has put on hold a plea for ordering a floor test in the Maharashtra Assembly till it examined records that might shed light on what led Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari to invite BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to form the government and later swear him in as the Chief Minister on November 23.

 

The Supreme Court gave the government time until 10.30 am on Monday (November 25) to produce:

  1. The letter written by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari recommending the revocation of President’s Rule and inviting Devendra Fadnavis to form the government.
  2. The letter that Fadnavis submitted to the Governor to demonstrate that he has majority support among the MLAs.

 

Under what rule, has the President’s rule been revoked?

To revoke President’s Rule, the government has used a special Section in the Union government’s Transaction of Business Rules (Rule 12), which allows for revocation of President’s Rule without Cabinet approval if the Prime Minister “deems it necessary”.

  • Rule 12 of the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1961, allows the Prime Minister to depart from laid down norms at his discretion.
  • It says, “The Prime Minister may, in case or classes of cases permit or condone a departure from these rules, to the extent he deems necessary.”
  • The Cabinet can subsequently give post-facto approval for any decision taken under Rule 12.

 

Under what circumstances is Rule 12 used?

The rule is usually not used to arrive at major decisions by the government. However, it has been used in matters such as withdrawal of an office memorandum or signing of MoUs in the past.

 

When was it used?

The last big decision taken through the invocation of Rule 12 was re-organisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh on October 31.

  • The proclamations issued by the President that day, dividing various districts between the two Union Territories, were issued under Rule 12.
  • The Cabinet gave post-facto approval to the same on November 20.

 

Sources: the Hindu.